34 replies on How to use the File Explorer views in Windows 10 like a pro

  1. erdi says:

    can you explain, if there’s a way at all in win7 explorer, how to make the changes in the folder view permanent, eg have details view or list view in each folder, instead of changing dynamically, because how you put it, its frustrating. i do go to the folder option under the view tab and click the apply the changes to all folders (after i already make the changes to my liking), but the view still changes. any way to prevent this? help!
    by the way, i like your articles ALOT!
    keep up the excellent work.

  2. erdi says:

    nevermind, i got it fixed.
    thanks anyway.

  3. Anonymous says:

    In older versions of Windows (e.g. XP), there was a folder option that said something like “Don’t archive thumbnails.” With that option active, if a folder was emptied, the folder icon in Windows Explorer or in Powerpoint showed an empty folder. With Windows 7, when I empty a folder, the icon still shows that the folder has contents. Any solution? I liked the Windows XP option.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you mean the “Do not cache thumbnails” option? This option no longer exists in Windows 7. However, you can use Disk Cleanup to clear the entire thumbnail cache. This will fix your icon issue.

  4. lisa says:

    How do I make it possible to freely move files around in a folder? I can’t seem to move them or rearrange them. There is nothing in the “sort” or “view” options that will allow this?

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not an expert, but I’m guessing there’s no way to do what you want to do. When you say you want to “freely move files around” I’m assuming you mean you want to explicitly control the order in which the files are displayed, right? I don’t think there’s any way to do this. It would require explorer to give you a user interface to allow you to turn off sorting and manually control the order (for example by dragging and dropping) and then it would have to remember that order for next time you visited the same folder. I don’t think that code is in there. (But maybe I’m wrong.)

  5. Anonymous says:

    You wrote: “Windows Explorer tries to automatically apply the view more suited to the contents of the folder you are currently browsing. Even though this can be frustrating sometimes, keep in mind that this is the default behavior.”

    Yes, this is frustrating. It’s fine if this is the *default* behavior, but the problem is that there seems to be no way to override this default. If I’m looking at a folder containing music, I might want view the files as media tracks, and see items like track number, artist, and so on, but on the other hand I might just want to look at the files as files, and see creation date, size, and so on. There seems to be no way to switch between these different views. How can I do it?

    • Ciprian Adrian Rusen says:

      Check the How to Access the Views of this article. It shows how to switch between views.

      • Anonymous says:

        No. “How to Access the Views” just explains how to switch between List, Details, Icons, etc…

        The point is that, for any one of these views, Explorer tries to be smart and shows you different things depending on what it thinks you want to see. For example, in “Details” view, if the folder is within your “Music” library it shows Name, Contributing Artists, Album, Track, etc… Otherwise the “Details” view shows Name, Date Modified, Type, Size, etc…

        Now it’s possible to go into the View / Choose Details menu and change what’s shown, but obviously I don’t want to have to do that every time. I simply want to tell Windows, “I know this folder contains music, but forget that, just show me the files in the folder.” How do I do that?

        This is a typical example of Windows trying too hard to be smart and make things easy for me, but actually making things harder because I have no easy way to make it just do what I tell it do, and nothing else!

        • Elvis says:

          You sure got that right! I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find ways to turn off the useless “features” where Windows tries to automatically do things, that aren’t what I want.

  6. Anonymous says:

    No, that’s not my question. The problem is that for any particular view, Explorer displays different things based on what it thinks the folder contains. For example, if it thinks the folder contains music, in the “Details” view it shows Name, Contributing Artists, Album, etc… Whereas if it thinks the folder contains “Documents” it shows, Name, File Type, Size, Date Modified, etc…

    I know it’s possible to select View / Choose Details and change what things are displayed. But obviously I don’t want to have to do this every time. I just want to tell Windows, “Don’t try to be smart – just show me the files in this directory as if they were regular files, not music or pictures or anything like that.”

    How can I do this?


  7. Grant says:

    I followed the tutorial to customize my window views, but for some reason when I click on “properties” it doesn’t give me a tab labled “customize” like in the tutorial. Am I missing something?

  8. Carolyn says:

    I have a basic question. In windows 7, when I try to use windows explorer, my choices are among 4 “libraries” – in the older version, the folders list in the left hand pane included folders for the “computer” with the various drives included, the desktop, etc. Are there settings that I can use to see this old view in the left pane?

    • Ciprian Adrian Rusen says:

      You should see on the left hand pane the drives on your computer, under the Computer section. Can you share a screenshot of how you see things? I would be able to help more.

  9. Carolyn says:

    I used to be able to right click on any folder on my desktop and chose “explore” – but I no longer have that option.
    I right click on “start” and choose “open windows explorer”:
    I have a screen shot in .jpg format – how do I upload it? – It wouldn’t paste into the comment box.

    • Ciprian Adrian Rusen says:

      1. Use http://imageshack.us/ to upload the screenshot and then share the link.
      2. Why would you right click on a folder and then choose “Explore”? If you want to open it, you just double click on it and it opens in Windows Explorer.
      3. In Windows 7, if you right click on a folder you have an option called “Open”. Does the same thing as “Explore” – if I remember correctly.

      Hope this helps, if not, please provide more details as I am having trouble understanding what you want to do.

  10. Carolyn says:

    Would you believe that I have been working with computers since 1985 and my brain has been in a fog lately!? – All I needed to do was open a folder, then check “navigation pane” under layout. Your comments pushed me in the right direction.
    I missed using DOS for the longest time. I guess it’s still hard to accept so much constant change :-). I also have Vista on my laptop, and going back and forth between the two can cause confusion sometimes in this little old lady! – Thank you for putting up with me. I am glad I found your web site! – Carolyn

    • Ciprian Adrian Rusen says:

      Cool. Glad I could help! 😀 And welcome to 7 Tutorials! Hope you will come back from time to time.

  11. Rinata says:

    I have a very very big problem.. I’m working to editing photo by getting the file from another computer by cabling LAN networking.. It was pretty fine until 2 days ago suddenly i can’t find any file that i was searched for. But when i tried to find it manually, the file was there. All i’m asking for is, why file search and explorer can’t find it.. ?? Virus or something??? Please help me or else i’ll get fired soon :'(

    • Danny says:

      Please check your LAN sharing or Drive Mapping settings on both computers or your NAS Drive. You may also need to check you File Sharing settings on the secondary computer drive where you files that you are trying to access as well. One note if are using a NAS Drive then you might want to check your drive for possible partial data corruption using Windows scan disk(do this but do not auto fix, because it might delete your files a very bad widows flaw) and defragmentation(this one may take some time to complete depending on size of your hard drive and how many files you have it and file sizes, so you may want skip this one) and or any software suite tools that was supplied with the drive.
      You might want to make the drive password protected so that one cannot steal the information on it and all users must use a password to access the drive.
      You may have to remap or setup sharing policies for your file storage or remote computer drive in order to gain access to those files again.
      Also checking your hard wire connections to your router would be a good idea. Make share that your cat 5 or cat 6 cable end connectors are intact, no broken clips that holds the cable in place.

  12. George Talbot says:

    I have several FLV files in W7 HP (SP1) that I play with Free FLV Player but their icons in WE are blank. I recall that in Vista with RealPlayer installed, some FLV files had icons taken from the start of the file.
    And in W7 for audio files in WMP12, WE copies the Album Art when it is from a jpg but not from a png file.

    • Danny says:

      Certain apps will use the first frame of a video as the icon pic. So if there is any blank or black frames at the start of video then that is what’s being used. To fix this you can screen capture or prnt scrn the video start scene then edit and save it and use that as your icon. Or you can edit the video and remove the beginning blank or black start frames. However, the editing of a video file can be very time consuming.

  13. Tom Anderson says:

    Windows Explorer provides medium, large and extra large actual image icons of an image file. Are these icons generated as viewed, and/or are they stored? Can these icons be programmatically extracted in a direct manner?

  14. Bret Furtwengler says:

    Using File Explorer for Windows 8.1, some subfolders open just the one file selected. Other subfolders open all of the subfolders including the one selected. I cannot see any difference in the options selected between the folders. For more specifics… the subfolders are under my Music folder. Folders A, B, and J will open only the subfolder selected, such as Aerosmith. But folders H, I and U will open all of the subfolders when I select just Hoobastank. Any ideas on why they act differently?

  15. Fiifi Odoom says:

    Well for a while now whenever i turn my tab view to large icon or extra large icon it goes blank, being it a picture or a folder, etc. WHY???

  16. Steve Clasby says:

    My Layout/View in File Explorer has suddenly acquired a third area on the right which has squeezed the folder area. I don’t know how it happened but I sure would like to know how to revert back to the two areas I had before. The third area seems to show what folder I am looking at but since I already know what folder I am looking at, I don’t really need it or want it. I like keeping all my folder in front of me and not squeezed so that I see less of them. Please advise. Thanks


  17. Steve Clasby says:

    My Layout/View in File Explorer has suddenly acquired a third area/pane on the right which has squeezed the folder area/pane. I don’t know how it happened but I sure would like to know how to revert back to the two areas I had before. The third area/pane seems to show what folder I am looking at but since I already know what folder I am looking at, I don’t really need it or want it. I like keeping all my folder in front of me and not squeezed so that I see less of them. Please advise. Thanks


    Ps: Sorry for writing two posts with the same information in them; but I couldn’t remember that the AREAS I was referring to are called PANES.

    • Ciprian Adrian Rusen says:

      In File Explorer, click View and make sure you deselect with a click either Details pane, or Preview pane, depending on which is enabled. The enabled third pane is highlighted in blue around its name.

  18. WestKyGal says:

    I use Adobe quite a bit. I’ll click on a document to see it in the preview pane of Explorer. Sometimes the number of pages displays on the top left side and others on the bottom right side. I prefer the top left. I can’t figure out how to make this a permanent setting. If it’s on the right side then then other setting are also squirrelly and troublesome. Any ideas?

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